- Vodafone Idea and rival Bharti Airtel reported losses in the last quarter
- Supreme Court on Thursday upheld DoT’s demand
- Shares of Vodafone Idea closed 5.6 percent lower
Loss-making mobile carrier Vodafone Idea said on Friday it will ask the central government for relief on payments of at least $4 billion (roughly Rs. 28,336 crores) after a court ruling required it to pay overdue levies and interest. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a demand by the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that wireless carriers pay nearly $13 billion (roughly Rs. 92,092 crores) in overdue levies and interest. It also asked telecom companies to deposit the outstanding amount within three months, according to a copy of the order seen by Reuters.
Vodafone Idea and rival Bharti Airtel reported losses for the quarter to June, hit by a price war that began after conglomerate Reliance Industries launched its Jio telecoms arm in 2016 with free voice and cut-price data services.
“The judgment has financial implications, which we are reviewing,” Vodafone Idea said in a statement. “We will engage with the DoT in order for it to consider granting relief, including a waiver of interest and penalties.”
Both Vodafone Idea and Airtel sparred for over a decade with the DoT over the definition of so-called adjusted gross revenue (AGR), a percentage of which they pay as usage charges for spectrum or airwaves and as licence fees.